Double swoop + Stock issuanceBy: Ian | August 22nd, 2012
The ink is barely dry on Van Persie’s contract, but that hasn’t stopped Manchester Utd rooting around to see what other players could bolster the squad. And so we have news of not another signing, but another two signings. In the interest of column-inch fair play, the players in question are not Lionel Messi and Ronaldo.
Rumours have been around all summer linking Utd to Leighton Baines of Everton, as Evra is currently Utd’s only recognised left-back. Everton have no money, as everyone knows, so their asking price was high, £12m apparently. Going completely under the radar in response, Utd have announced the signing of Alexander Buttner from Vitesse Arnhem for £3.9m, money that was allegedly found down the back of the Old Trafford sofa (once D.Berbatov was kicked off it off course). Sir Alex issued a statement expressing his delight that Utd had signed one of the best left-backs in Europe, and his Dutch scout issued a further statement that Buttner wasn’t even the best left-back in Holland. Perhaps the words ‘for the money’ should have been added to the ‘best left-back’ quote. I find myself in a similar situation to when Gabriel Heinze was signed. I had never heard of him. However, it is clear that Buttner has been signed as cover and squad player status. We’ll see how he gets on, but such a jump for the player means expectations are not overbearing.
Given the presence of Rooney, Van Persie, Welbeck, Chicharito, Macheda, Berbatov and the mercurial Bebe, what we really need, as I’m sure we’ll all agree, is another striker. Preferably one who is 18 years old and Chilean. Well fear not, Utd have found just the man. Angelo Henriquez, of Universidad de Chile, is all set to join the forward ranks as some legal stuff has been granted. Henriquez expressed his delight at joining Utd, and Utd, after checking the paperwork and whether he should have been in school, were delighted to welcome him. Given his age, he’s probably in Carling Cup territory after a work experience placement in the Utd Megastore.
I realise I have missed out a fairly big chunk of Utd news with the stock market issuance of 10 Aug. A degree certificate says I am apparently an Economist so a few quick words about it before the reader falls asleep. When this news of a possible float emerged last year, it didn’t seem a bad idea as the money raised would be used to pay off the club’s debts. The location was at first unusual, the Far East, but this was quite shrewd, as Utd’s fanbase there exceeds all other football clubs and the value of the club may have been positively affected. As it turned out, the final location was not one at the top of the list, New York. Beckham has tried, but the US is not soccer-centric, and whether American investors could really drum up the enthusiasm was questioned. However, it was more for the brand that this small chunk of the club was invested into, and Americans can understand that.
10% of the club went on sale for $14 apiece, down from a wishful $20. This may not seem much, but the different in the value of the club is huge, $1.5bn vs a potential $2bn. Of the £150m or so raised, not all will be used on Utd’s debt, only around half, which dents only a little more than the interest of Utd’s £423m debt. The other half will go to the Glazers. I am not anti-Glazer, they have at least allowed Sir Alex to just run his club as he does best, and that cannot be said of rich owners who pop along and think they know best. It is however irksome that, given the debt the Glazers have saddled the club with, that this opportunity was not used to its full extent to really chip away at the debt mountain. Surely they did not need another £75m for their own ends?
A long post, I know, but any comments appreciated below.